Yes, it's really true -- the current Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler, had a dad who was incarcerated. And it changed her life so much that she's made it her platform as long as she wears the diamond tiara.
This Huffington Post piece describes how Kaeppeler is speaking out for prison reform and standing up for a segment of society that too few advocate for: the families of prisoners. From the article:
In a statement by Laura after her crowning as Miss Wisconsin in 2011, she announced, "Children of incarcerated parents are an invisible population, and tragically there is no one agency responsible for their welfare. Because of this experience, it has become my mission in life to help children overcome this adversity while understanding they are not alone and must never give up on themselves."Lawmakers who support tough-sounding, lengthy prison terms -- and mandatory minimum prison sentences -- should stop and think about the children and families who will be impacted -- before they pass those laws. Not all of those children grow up to become Miss America -- studies show that a lot of them instead follow their family members into prison. Many children with incarcerated parents certainly need help to avoid that pattern, but such programming wouldn't be necessary if we instead used sentencing policies that keep families together whenever it is safe to do so.
Sentencing reform should be a big part of any plan to help the families and children of those who end up in the criminal justice system.